I looked on the ground as it dribbled over the gravel.
“How could this happen to me?” I pondered as I looked up to see if anyone had witnessed this embarrassing blunder.
After driving for twelve minutes, waiting at three stoplights, and standing in line behind a woman who smelled of sweaty yoga studio and patchouli oil, I had finally gotten my hands on what I was hoping would be the cure to my lowered Monday energy. It’s not every day that I commit to spending $9.25 on something edible that can’t be cut with a knife and fork.
I had scoured the menu prior to my arrival. The pressure of trying to figure out the size and composition of my juice would have been overbearing, and any slip-up in front of the regulars would have caused everyone to know that I was an amateur. I didn’t want to order anything that was too green for fear of the taste not resonating with me, but I also wanted to refrain from ordering something that was loaded with sugar and would conversely affect my health.
Too much kale and spinach would cause my throat to swell upon swallowing, but anything with mango and strawberries would be too reminiscent of an island cocktail. I wanted to fit in, so I had to find something that was considered acceptable in all circles.
As I approached the counter, the girl at the register had dreadlocks and a nose ring. It wasn’t a septum piercing and was actually somewhat cute, so I gave her a subtle smile as to not come off as a douche. You could tell she supported the establishment’s cause as her arms were skinny in a way that said, “I follow up my hot yoga with wheatgrass shots,” and not “I move my food around on my plate so it looks like I ate some.”
Nervous I’d pronounce it wrong, I ordered a Voltron. It had acai, almond, cacao, coconut oil, banana, and rice milk. Not entirely sure what acai even was, the ingredient was famous enough on Instagram that I knew it would suffice.
“Sure, that’ll be up in about five minutes,” she responded over the loud blender noises coming from the back of the kitchen. I handed her a ten and put the remaining 75¢ into the tip jar. Sure, it was only a small token of my appreciation, but it seemed strange to me to tip someone who was basically the equivalent of a co-op cashier.
As I waited, I saw numerous people approach the counter and ask for ingredient add-ins I’d never heard of before. Juicing and smoothies were new to me, so I was unsure how the addition of Himalayan salt and flax oil would affect the outcome of something that already seemingly had mismatched ingredients. Everyone there was in shape (or at least in workout clothes), so I couldn’t help but personally acknowledge their credibility as they ordered and waited with me.
After a short wait, I knew my time had to be approaching sooner than later. The only person ahead of me was the gentleman in bike shorts who had ordered a sundried tomato and basil pesto sandwich on gluten-free bread, and I figured that would take longer than my smoothie.
“24-ounce Voltron,” the trustafarian clerk said directly to me, somehow remembering what I had ordered in the seas of exercise moms and stay-at-home dads. I approached the counter and grabbed a straw before thanking her and giving her one last smile. She told me to enjoy, and I assured her I would.
I walked out passing a row of fixed-gear bicycles and strollers. I didn’t want to look over-eager, nor did I want anyone to see me wince if the acai and rice milk didn’t sit well with my taste buds, so I waited until I left to take my first sip.
It was phenomenal. Perfectly blended with very little tangible texture, I smiled as the straw left my mouth. I had finally discovered a world where my lunch didn’t have to consist of twelve inches of bread and an array of meat and cheese that would cause me to wallow at my desk. I took another step forward while reaching for the car keys in my pocket when the dew on the exterior of the plastic cup became a fatal lubricant.
In what felt like slow motion, the top of the cup became dislodged from the lid as I over-squeezed the vessel in an attempt to save it from dropping. As it tumbled to the ground, I desperately shuffled to catch it before it landed upside down on the pavement.
No one had seen the tragedy that unfolded before me, but that didn’t help my cause. My story had ended, and I had no other choice but to move on. Hungry, deflated, I got in my car and drove away, for it was not meant to be. .
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